Ways to More Products, More Customers, More Cash
As you may or may not know, one of my biggest passions is helping Infoproduct sellers.
That would include you if you have created your own ebook, telecourse, membership site, software, plugin, checklist package, calendar or video series that you sell.
Well, one of my friends is someone who I brainstorm with regularly and who I feel is doing a LOT of things right, as evidenced by her multiple six figure income.
Well, Melissa is teaching a new course for infoproduct sellers that is being covered in five parts:
- Simple Planning that Helps You Get the Right Things Done, Faster
- How to Work Less and Less, While You Make More and More Money Consistently
- How to Easily Use Email to Market and Sell to Hundreds or Even Thousands of People at a Time
- How To Get Others to Sell For You with Affiliate Marketing
- How to Create Easy Information Products in as Little as 3 Hours & Launch Them for the Greatest Impact and Maximum Profit
I thought it would be fun to ask Melissa a tough question about each of those areas. And, despite a nasty stomach bug, she got it done for us. She's cool like that. 🙂
Before we dig in, though, be sure to click here
-> Melissa's Info Publishing Success System
Melissa has a cool video on the page.
Here is our interview. I hope you find it helpful.
Nicole: Melissa, we both know the many quotes that essentially say “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” (Alan Lakein) However, I also believe that over-planning can be detrimental, too, because it limits you in your flexibility.
What is your view on planning, specifically for an infoproduct seller, and what mistakes do you see them making that cost them money in this area?
Melissa: I agree that there is such a thing as over-planning, because what happens is that you get so caught up in creating this wonderful plan for your business that you’re not actually doing anything. So over-planning by itself will cost you money.
On the flip side, you do have to plan to some extent because if you don’t, you’ll get sucked into the cycle of looking busy without actually working – if you know what I mean. I personally hate to-do lists because they’re so overwhelming, and looking at one gives me an icky feeling so I don’t use them. Instead, I use Basecamp to manage all my projects which has a built in calendar. And then for my actual planning, I use pen and paper and a blank monthly calendar.
As an infoproduct seller, it’s especially important that you plan your month out, because if you don’t, you’ll find that the month will come and go and you still won’t have your product ready. There are a lot of little pieces that go into creating and launching an information product.
For instance, will you need to record audio? And if so, who is going to transcribe that? What about writing your promotional blog content and emails? You can’t expect to have those things done overnight. So planning out what needs to be done and will help you move your project along quickly.
Nicole: I agree. I work with a loose plan. It allows me to make sure things are moving on schedule, while still having the flexibility to pop in a quick blog post like this to help my readers, too.
Working Less while Earning More.
Nicole: We both outsource in our businesses and have for years. In this area, what would you say is the myth that people buy into that holds them back?
Melissa: I’ve found the number one thing that holds people back from outsourcing is money. They believe that it’s expensive and that they shouldn’t be hiring help when they’re not making any or enough money.
And it makes sense, right? I mean why pay for someone to do something that you can do yourself for free? But what they don’t realize; is that it’s costing them money whether they do it themselves or outsource.
Scheduling content to a blog isn’t free just because you do it yourself. In fact, it will cost you more money to do it yourself than it would to outsource it, but most business owners don’t see it that way. They don’t understand that their time is money.
Knowing what an hour of your time is worth is so important, because when you see the numbers, it all makes sense.
Let’s say you want to make $50,000 per year. Here’s how we would figure out what your hourly rate is worth:
Income Goal: $50,000
Divide by 50 weeks: $1000 (2 weeks off for vacation)
Divide by 5 Day Week: $200
Divide by 5 Hours: $40/hr. (based on 5 hours of focused work time per day)
So your time is worth $40 an hour. If you spend 3 hours scheduling blog content, it costs you $120. Does it not make sense to hire a VA to do it for you for $15/hr. (a skilled VA can probably do the same amount of work in half the time, which will cost you even less money)? Then you can spend those 3 hours on money making tasks like product creation and marketing your business.
I’m going to end this question with a quote from Loral Langemeier about outsourcing, “Time can be bought through team.”
Nicole: You and I both earn a sizable income from our relationship with our lists. (Love you all!) The biggest struggle that I see that people need to overcome before anything is getting people to sign up in the first place. As an infoproduct seller, what has really worked well for you to grow your list overnight?
Melissa: Squeeze pages have and continue to work really well for me. I have a whole process that I use to set up a winning squeeze page, but I won’t go into that here. I almost wonder if people think squeeze pages are too ‘old school’, so they’re not using them anymore.
Anyway, if you’re not setting up squeeze pages to funnel traffic to your list on autopilot, you need start doing that right away. This is where PLR content comes in really handy because you can get packages that come with a squeeze page already written and a freebie report that you can use to entice people to sign up. And some even come with emails already written for you. So make use of that type of PLR to make fast work of setting up your squeeze pages. Set them up and then forget them…they’ll work for you while you’re off living your life.
Nicole: Hey guys. Melissa has some PLR sets that include squeeze pages on her site. PLR for Internet Marketers
Having a Rocking Affiliate Program.
Nicole: Considering that I have been pretty much your top affiliate for years, I know you know how to run an affiliate program that is enticing to promote.
To that person who is totally overwhelmed by having their own affiliate program (or whose affiliate program is pretty stagnant), can you tell me what benefits you've gotten from investing time and energy into yours?
Melissa: Growth. My business continues to grow and grow because my affiliates are out there spreading the word and promoting my products for me. I have this great sales force that I only have to pay when they make sales. So it’s not like it’s going to cost you money on an ongoing basis to run an affiliate program, no, it’s going to make you more money than you can make on your own.
It’s impossible for you to market your business all on your own. You just can’t reach everyone, everywhere, which is why having an affiliate program is so beneficial to your business – it allows you to expand your reach beyond your existing market, which means you can help more people.
Expanding your Product Line.
Nicole: I always ask my Coaching Clients “What's next?” One infoproduct does not make a solid business. Having a line of products does.
That said, adding a second and third product typically confuses people as to what to create next – and then how to promote it. So, in a nutshell, how do you decide what product to create next in your line?
Melissa: I think it makes sense to build on what you’re already doing. For instance, let’s say you have an ebook that is an overview of marketing on facebook and you’re trying to figure out what product to create next. Why not do a quick survey asking your people what they struggle with most when it comes to marketing on facebook. Then based on their answers, you can create multiple products that solve their problems. It could be a webinar where you walk them through setting up their facebook timeline, or a series of videos about building their list with facebook, or whatever it is that your market wants to learn.
Your one product doesn’t have to be it…you can expand on it and create a whole bunch of different products around that one topic. So you lead from a $17 ebook, to a $27 webinar, to a $47 video series, etc. And then expand on that again with a membership site, coaching program, live workshop, etc. You can do the same with all the topics you decide to create products on. Don’t just plan for that one product. Look at the bigger picture and then break it down into multiple products.
Be sure to check out Melissa's program here
-> Info Publishing Success System <-
to see if it's right for you.
Talk to Me.
What are your biggest struggles as an infoproduct seller?
Got tips? Share your answers to any of the questions above.
I appreciate shares and I adore comments! Please share your thoughts.
TawraOctober 3, 2012 at 1:36 pm
Our biggest problem has been outsourcing. We have tried and tried and tried and every time it has cost us a ton of money and we don’t see a lot of return for that money. Last year we lost almost $10,000 to failed outsourcing which is a big hit when that’s 20% of your income.
Most of that was in trying to outsource the graphics for new book covers, warehousing and shipping of our print books. Another huge problem was sending out taxes to be done, they didn’t get done and now Mike is having to do them.
That’s the kind of stuff that has discouraged us from outsourcing. It seems we keep trying people out but always ends up backfiring on us.
Melisas IngoldOctober 4, 2012 at 6:35 am
I’m so sorry to hear about your experience with outsourcing Tawra!
Did you ask other people for referrals or did you just find those people on your own? I’ve always found that the best people are those who’ve come recommended to me or those I find within my own community (paid forum, etc.).
You could try http://killercovers.com/print-design. I’ve used them for an ezine newsletter template and they did a great job. I know that both Ali Brown and Lisa Sasevich use them too (Ali recommends them).
As for taxes, I’ve never sent them out. Instead I use a reputable local accountant. Do you mean that you found someone and then mailed out your taxes to have done?
The first step is to go to other people who are outsourcing successfully and ask them for recommendations. I was looking for another transcriptionist because the one I usually use was too busy, so I asked Nicole (who is a close friend and who I trust immensely) who she uses and she pointed me to her lady 🙂
It’s the same as asking your friend if that new restaurant in town is any good. If she says, no the food and service is crap, then you’re probably not going to go, right, because you trust your friend.
NicoleOctober 4, 2012 at 8:21 am
I definitely agree with Melissa – and this sounds like a great topic for Expert Briefs, as well.
1. Ask for recommendations.
I can’t possibly emphasize this enough. Maybe talk to Kelly McCausey about which of her interns are standing out. They will be looking for clients when their term is done.
2. Did you get an agreement in writing prior to payment?
It concerns me that you had no recourse but to walk away from $10,000. Are you saying you did not get any work done? Or that it was done poorly?
3. As for the taxes, I had to go through two accountants before finding my current one. My husband keeps our books, but our accountant does the actual taxes. We pay a couple of hundred of dollars a year for this.
The fact that this keeps happening really concerns me.
1. You guys aren’t communicating well up front with your contractors.
2. Your hiring skills need some fixin’.
Your next hire may need to be a lawyer. That’s kind of loss is really upsetting to me.
Talk to me. We’ll see if we cant’ figure it out. 🙂
Hugs and so very sorry for your experience.
K QuinnOctober 3, 2012 at 6:57 pm
For me it has been finding good affiliates. Marketing an affiliate program. How to go about that.
TawraOctober 4, 2012 at 1:51 pm
Thanks for the input guys!
Yes, we have gotten recommendations and researched the places before we had them do stuff and gotten contracts.
Our 1st problem was finding good editors/proofreaders. We got names recommended tried them out on a trial basis but then when it was time to do the big stuff they would miss a lot. So Mike is back to editing again.
We then had cover design problems. We decided to use a “large firm” to do our covers and our printing, warehousing and distributing for our print books. We had a contract and tried to work with them but the cover samples they sent us were horrible!
So 1/2 way through the new cover process we just dumped their graphic guy. We could have fought them on it but by the time we tried to “work with them” to try and figure it out (they wouldn’t just let us out of the contract) and then had to take them to court if it didn’t work we just were tired of dealing with it and flushed the $1300 we had spent so far on covers.
Then we got some names from when Mike went to Nams for cover people and at first it went ok but then the lady wasn’t getting them done and we had books we had to get out. We did get our covers but had to fight hard to get the last of them and that was another bomb as far as saving us time. We could have just had the covers done ourselves for as much time as we spent trying to get her to get them done.
Then as far as the company doing the warehousing and distributing that was a case of the work got done but it wasn’t that great and we could have done it ourselves had saved $6,000-$7000 in fees.
The taxes. We just moved so our cooperate taxes are not so easy this year. The accountant we found said it would be $2500 to do our taxes. So we sent them to Mike’s aunt out of state who is a CPA and said “sure I would love to do them”. Well, she filed an extension and then never did them. So Mike had to insist that she send everything back so he could get them done before the 15th and now has spent 3-4 days on them. 🙂
I’m not sure where we are going wrong. I totally get that our time is worth some $. Right now we are earning enough for Mike to get paid but mom and I are basically doing our part for free. Right now we are kind of at the stage of trying to figure out if we keep going or go ahead and stop as soon as Mike can find something else that pays the bills. He’s a video producer and would really rather get back into video.
Anyway, I am going to keep checking out your info. on outsourcing. When he does get the video going we will need someone to take over his part of the business if we keep it going.
Kim PhoenixOctober 4, 2012 at 2:03 pm
Tawra, sorry to hear about all the problems.
Nicole and Melissa, my struggle right now is trying to get everything done (especially since I still work part-time out of the home), and so I’ve really begun the process of outsourcing. I listened to the videos that Melissa did, and I found them VERY motivating. It has made me realize that this is what I have to do to get my business moving. I also want to connect with other people in this business to form some great friendships and affiliate partnerships. It’s all very exciting and overwhelming too.
tawnyOctober 28, 2012 at 11:25 pm
Hi melissa and nicole
I have really grown to love the two of you, lol! You give such great advice and offer so much help, and I appreciate it so much.
Currently, I am a stay at home mom who has sacrificed working to be home with my little one. I am broke and spending many late nights at my computer trying to get my blog and PLR store off the ground.
I have been feeling like there is something missing in my efforts. Ideally I would like to only be working 4 days a week for 4 to 5 hours each day. I know it can work but I’m lost and confused. I feel like I’m constantly spending time on the wrong tasks. Nicole I purchased Blog CPR which I love, and I am doing a review of it on my blog as we speak! Melissa, is your course something that could help me? I would love your advice on what I should do at this point.
Thank you both for being so encouraging and inspiring :o)